Brock Posted March 25, 2012 Report Share Posted March 25, 2012 Desi's house in Corona, CA could be redeveloped into a conference centre known as "The Desi House", according to this article in The Press Enterprise, featuring comments from Desi Jr.: EASTVALE: A rebirth for the Desi Arnaz house BY SANDRA STOKLEY STAFF WRITER After “I Love Lucy” went off the air and Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz divorced, Arnaz decamped to Corona in 1960 where he operated a thoroughbred horse breeding ranch. The 45-acre Corona Breeding Farm, near Lincoln Avenue and West Rincon Street, is long gone. But more than 50 years later, the 4,400-square-foot Spanish-style ranch house that Arnaz helped design still exists. If all goes as planned, the structure soon could become a meeting and event venue in Eastvale. Resident Steve Altfillisch, who owns the house, is seeking a permit from the city of Eastvale to hold special events such as weddings and corporate gatherings there. It would be marketed as “The Desi House.” And the Jurupa Community Services District Parks and Recreation Department has expressed an interest in buying the house and turning it into an interpretive center. “It’s a unique house. It’s beautiful and it has history,” Altfillisch said. Altfillisch’s father, Bert, saved the house from the junk heap after the land was sold to make way for a cheese factory. In 1984, Bert Altfillisch was hired to grade the property and demolish the buildings. But it was contrary to his nature to destroy a perfectly good house, his son said recently. “My dad loved to save things,” Steve Altfillisch said. “And he had property close enough to make it happen.” So the house was cut into three sections and hauled across the Santa Ana River to Bert Altfillisch’s 365-acre property in Eastvale where he bred and trained thoroughbred racehorses. The house underwent extensive renovations including new floors and tile work. But the structural integrity of the original house as Arnaz envisioned it remains. The words etched in wood over the front door leave no doubt about the original owner: Bienvenidos a la casa de Don Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III (Welcome to the home of Mr. Desiderio Alberto Arnaz and of Acha III). Desi Arnaz Jr., who lives in Boulder City, Nev., with his wife, Amy, said in a telephone interview Wednesday that he has vivid memories of spending time at the Corona ranch with his older sister, Lucie. “My dad actually designed the house. He loved designing,” Desi Arnaz Jr. said. “It had a certain Spanish-like architecture from his childhood in Cuba,” he said. “It was Old World.” Desi Arnaz Jr. said the wall of French doors at the back of the house provided a spectacular view of the Arnaz ranch because the house sat on a hill. “It’s a great house,” he said. The Arnaz children spent weekdays in Los Angeles with their mother. Weekends and holidays were spent at the ranch. Holidays were a time for celebrating, and Desi’s get-togethers would draw some of his Hollywood friends, including Jimmy Durante, Bing Crosby and, of course, William Frawley and Vivian Vance, better known as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo’s landlords, Fred and Ethel Mertz. “I think my mother may have even visited,” Desi Arnaz Jr. said. “I had horses and go karts,” Arnaz Jr. said. “Back then we were the only people out there. It used to be all horses and cattle farms. It was fun.” Arnaz Jr. said horse breeding was more of a hobby than a business for his father, and he thinks the ranch was a way for his father to recapture his youth in Cuba. “He loved animals and he loved nature,” Arnaz said. “One of the great things my father gave to me is an appreciation of nature. He’d look at a sunset and say, ‘God really outdid himself.’” After about 10 years, Arnaz sold the farm and dissolved the horse breeding business. He passed away Dec. 2, 1986. Bert Altfillisch died in 2006. Six years later, financial constraints are forcing his family to sell much of the property. The family is under contract with a developer to build a 146-home subdivision. But the subdivision lines are drawn around the house. “It was my father’s wish to keep it intact. And that’s my wish,” Altfillisch said. “I want to do something special with it.” He is seeking a permit from the city of Eastvale. If he succeeds, Altfillisch said he hopes to renovate the house and property and rent it out for special events such as weddings, meetings or corporate events. And the Jurupa Community Services District Parks and Recreation Department is in early talks with Altfillisch to acquire the house and property around it. Richard “Ric” Welch, director of parks and community affairs, said some possible uses of the house would be as an interpretive center or as a meeting venue. “It’s a neat place,” Welch said. ARTICLE: http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/corona/corona-headlines-index/20120324-eastvale-a-rebirth-for-the-desi-arnaz-house.ece Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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